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Incomplete contracting, renegotiation, and expectation-based loss aversion

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  • Herweg, Fabian
  • Karle, Heiko
  • Müller, Daniel

Abstract

We consider a simple trading relationship between an expectation-based loss-averse buyer and a profit-maximizing seller. When writing a long-term contract the parties have to rely on renegotiation in order to ensure materially efficient trade ex post. We show that if the buyer expects renegotiation to occur, the seller can opportunistically exploit the buyer's attachment to the expected outcome of renegotiation. In other words, incomplete contracts create a new type of hold-up problem. If credible, the buyer prefers to expect not to renegotiate, which gives rise to ex post inefficiencies. In a next step, we allow the buyer to undertake a non-contractible investment. We find that loss aversion can mitigate the traditional hold-up problem.

Suggested Citation

  • Herweg, Fabian & Karle, Heiko & Müller, Daniel, 2018. "Incomplete contracting, renegotiation, and expectation-based loss aversion," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 176-201.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeborg:v:145:y:2018:i:c:p:176-201
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jebo.2017.07.033
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    Cited by:

    1. Kohei Daido & Takeshi Murooka, 2016. "Team Incentives and Reference‐Dependent Preferences," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 25(4), pages 958-989, December.
    2. Kohei Daido & Tomoya Tajika, 2020. "Abstention by Loss-Averse Voters," Discussion Paper Series 205, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University.
    3. Freeman, David J., 2017. "Preferred personal equilibrium and simple choices," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 143(C), pages 165-172.
    4. Fabian Herweg & Klaus M. Schmidt, 2015. "Loss Aversion and Inefficient Renegotiation," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 82(1), pages 297-332.
    5. Dato, Simon & Grunewald, Andreas & Müller, Daniel, 2015. "Expectation-Based Loss Aversion and Strategic Interaction," Bonn Econ Discussion Papers 02/2015, University of Bonn, Bonn Graduate School of Economics (BGSE).
    6. Benjamin Balzer & Antonio Rosato, 2021. "Expectations-Based Loss Aversion in Auctions with Interdependent Values: Extensive vs. Intensive Risk," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 67(2), pages 1056-1074, February.
    7. Dato, Simon & Müller, Daniel & Grunewald, Andreas, 2015. "Expectation-Based Loss Aversion and Strategic Interaction," VfS Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 112947, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Behavioral contract theory; Expectation-based loss aversion; Hold-up problem; Incomplete contracts; Renegotiation;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C78 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Bargaining Theory; Matching Theory
    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • D86 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Economics of Contract Law

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